Solving statelessness in Southern Africa
Frederik Ngubane was born in South Africa to South African parents 22 years ago but, lacking any proof of his origins or nationality, he lives a shadowy, marginal existence. He cannot travel, study or secure formal employment and has lost count of how many times he has been arrested for being undocumented.
Solving statelessness in Southern Africa IRIN
IRIN on Friday, June 7, 2013
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Frederik Ngubane was born in South Africa to South African parents 22 years ago but, lacking any proof of his origins or nationality, he lives a shadowy, marginal existence. He cannot travel, study or secure formal employment and has lost count of how many times he has been arrested for being undocumented.

Not considered a national by South Africa or by Kenya or Uganda - the two countries where he grew up - Ngubane is stateless, a predicament he shares with an estimated 12 million people worldwide, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which is mandated with trying to reduce that figure. 

Nationality confers a host of rights that stateless individuals cannot access, from education and healthcare to the ability to register a marriage or a birth. As a result, statelessness is often passed from one generation to the next. 

As early as 1954, the international community, under the auspices of the UN, adopted the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, which defined who is a stateless person and established a framework for their international protection. A second international convention adopted in 1961 focused on reducing cases of statelessness], primarily by requiring participating states to grant citizenship to children born on their territory who would otherwise be stateless. However, the majority of countries in Africa have not ratified either convention (see map), leaving them under no obligation to pass national legislation that would address the issue.

                           
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